Page 1

Making Jam the Easy Way

To us, the onset of Fall is all about trying to extend summer.  Dragging out the cottage closing. Pretending it’s still warm enough for one last swim. Thinking about making jam with that soon-to-disappear basket of peaches.

According to the chef and author Anna Jones in the Guardian, making jam from summer’s bounty is “… a clever way of creating a little time capsule in a jar.”  If you’ve been put off by the idea that making jam is difficult, don’t be.   Follow this surprisingly easy method of small batches and jar sterilisation done in the oven, and even the most fearful among us can pull this off.

The biggest time saver? Instead of boiling jars to sterilise them, she warms the jars in the oven at 275F for 10 minutes minimum (a longer stay won’t hurt), and when the jam is ready and piping hot, it goes straight into the hot jars. This process seals the jars safely  – we told you making jam was thieasy.

You can start with her recipe for Roasted Plum Jam.  Please note that this method practically begs for experimentation.  You can add anything from Earl Grey tea or black pepper to vanilla pods, orange blossom, fennel seeds, bay leaves and herbs like lemon verbena or flowers like rose geranium.

Here’s to that little jar of Summer 2016 gracing your breakfast table this February.

Anna Jones’ Quick and Easy Roasted Plum Jam

Makes 4 small jars
2kg small plums or damsons
300g golden caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Flavour options
A few twists of black pepper
A vanilla pod, split in half
1 tsp fennel pollen or fennel seeds
A couple of bay leaves
A handful of lemon verbena
A handful of rose geranium

1 Stone your damsons or plums: if they are ripe, you will be able to squeeze the stone out in your hands; if they are too firm to do that, you’ll need to cut them open and scoop out the stone with a small spoon.

2 Lay the fruit and stones out evenly on two large baking trays, then scatter over the sugar and lemon juice. Now’s the time to add your flavourings – if you are using rose geranium, lemon verbena or bay to flavour, thoroughly mix it in with your hands, then leave overnight to infuse.

3 Roast the fruit in the centre of an oven preheated to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 for 45 minutes, or until sticky and caramelised.

4 Once cooked, remove whatever flavourings you’ve used (unless you have used pepper or fennel, as these will be small enough to eat) and the stones. Spoon the jam into sterilised jars and seal immediately.

5 Store in a cool, dark place. This will keep for up to a year. Once open, refrigerate and eat within three months for the best flavour.

making jam

For this Fig, Vanilla and Orange Blossom Jam recipe, click here.

Photos: Issy Croker for the Guardian